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SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF] Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF]

Reviews Views Date of last review
19 100,200 Thu June 23, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $1,370.71 9.53
SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF]

The SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF] is the fastest lens Pentax has ever produced for this zoom range. It is quite heavy because it employs an all-metal barrel and includes the Power Zoom feature, which can be taken advantage of on high end Pentax DSLRs as well as select film bodies. This lens also features a tripod collar.

You switch between autofocus and manual focus by pushing the focusing forwards (autofocus) or pulling it towards the camera (manual focus). The camera body should be set to autofocus.

SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED[IF]
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 9 blades
16 elements, 13 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
140 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
77 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 20-8.2 ° / 17-6.9 °
Full frame: 30-12 ° / 25-10.3 °
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Internal Zoom,Power Zoom,Push-pull AF/MF Focusing Ring,Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
88 x 195 mm (3.5 x 7.7 in.)
1510 g (53.3 oz.)
Production Years
1994 to 2004
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA* 1:2.8 80-200mm ED[IF]
Product Code
User reviews
In-depth review
Four ED elements.
Screwdrive AutofocusInternal FocusingInternal ZoomingPowered ZoomingAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF] in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF]
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 19
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2016
Location: Paris
Posts: 80
Lens Review Date: June 23, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: everything
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1   

A superb piece of Pentax engineering and optics.

I still find it fun to use to powerzoom from time to time on K-1.

If it fails me one day, i'll try repairing or look for the same one, as i don't see the point of replacing this lens with the new HD WR 70-200mm.

AF is blazing fast and accurate. AF tracking works like a charm. Pure unfailing screwdrive
The front element is top notch glass, no filter needed.
The hood is compact and solid.
The tripod collar is small and convenient.
The built quality is awesome.
The size and ergonomy are so so so perfect.
Bokeh magnificent in almost every circumstance.
Microcontrast is bluffing.
The IQ is amazing at any range on a 36MP camera.

One photographer can not expect a better zoom lens for this range and aperture.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2010
Location: zurich
Posts: 408
Lens Review Date: June 24, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp (prime like), 2.8, nice colors, Power Zoom
Cons: Heavy, CA in Backlite situations, Silver finish
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-7, K-5, K-3   

Lovely lens! Heavy, silver, 2.8 and sharp.
And now that the Pentax D-FA* 70-200mm is delayed it was an even better decision. Half the price and available on Ebay...:-)
Its front heavy and the tripod foot is a bit too short for my taste...
AF is quick on the K-3 (even BIF works great), much more than on the other two bodies...
I do like the Power Zoom it's a shame that they have not followed this route.. they have used the power zoom contacts for the SDM and DC AF....

I have started to carry this lens together with the DA 12-24, FA* 28-70, DA100 Macro WR in my backpack every day... its a heavy kit but worth the schlepping... (Bike, Walk and Train)
This is my high IQ Zoom Kit... was hard to carry in the beginning but its a good training...:-) and I don't feel the weight anymore. And I can spot something during the train ride and go there by bike and capture almost everything.. It even allows me to take Wildlife, like the birds below. It's harder than with the DA* 300 or Fa* 400 as you need to get fairly close...:-) but you have a F2.8 gain for speed... the best camera is the one you have with you :-)

Crop 100%

Senior Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: Washington, USA
Posts: 147
Lens Review Date: October 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,250.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: fast, image quality, bokeh, build
Cons: AF accuracy, heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: k-5   

I purchased this lens cause I wanted to have the range and speed that this category of lens gave me. I was hoping to explore portraiture photography with a fast telephoto. Here is what I got.

This thing is heavy. But honestly that doesn't bother me. If you are purchasing a lens like this, I'm sure you know enough about photography to understand that good glass costs something... price and weight. And considering that it was made in the 90's, it feels and works great! Manual focus is smooth and autofocus works fairly quickly. Zoom feel isn't as nice as I hoped, but it's nothing to complain about.

Images from this lens can be astounding! Sharpness and bokeh truly work together for spectacular pictures. This lens can do some great things when the focus is spot on. At times there are some chromatic aberrations but the bokeh and sharpness overshadow that. I feel it struggles a little in low light though.

My biggest complaint:
On the k-5, this lens has trouble with focus accuracy. I have the in camera focus adjustment set to +7. This aids in it's accuracy but it still doesn't catch accurate focus all the time. This can be frustrating because as I stated in the "Image" section above, the images this lens creates when focus is spot on are amazing.

Final word... A heavy lens with speed that creates awesome bokeh and sharpness are what you get. Just make sure the frame is in focus.

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Newcastle
Posts: 1,954
Lens Review Date: June 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast AF, colours, bokeh
Cons: unsure haven't met any yet
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5   

When setting out to collect/ use legacy glass I decided to stick to primes. Over time I realised that sometimes it would be nice to have an AF zoom on the camera for action. What to do since I was used to the qualities of top primes?

After much research I distilled my interest to the 80-200mm range. I decided that this was the 'working' focal range where a zoom was called for as shorter focal lengths were not useful for subjects in action scenes with longer focal lengths also best covered by primes.

Three notable brands compete in this space. In this respect I selected the Pentax over the other as IQ was the highest priority (Pentax weighs the most and has noisy(ier) AF - these being purported downsides). I was not disappointed.

Sharpness is fantastic across the focal range. I know this as I have compared results with various primes (including Pentax F 135mm) with almost indistinguishable results).

Colours are warmer than expected. Greens and yellows are prominent but not overly so. Good saturation and vibrance without PP.

Bokeh is excellent. I love how it enhances subject isolation giving a 3D effect.

Aberrations are there but very minor and controllable.

Handling requires perseverance. It is a heavy lens but that is the price you pay for lots of glass.

AF is fast and is a little noisy. I do, however, find that the AF is not always spot on. Care is required to make sure you are shooting accurately.

The lens gets a 10 as it performs, to me, like a stack of primes.

Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Norway
Posts: 385
Lens Review Date: April 17, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp and fast AF
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-5   

This lens is optically excellent, especially at 200mm. It is sharp wide open and have a nice bokeh. Autofocus is fast. I wasn’t too happy with the AF performance on K-5, but on K-5 IIs, focus is spot on every time. The hood is to short and the lens is heavy and this is the only negative with this lens.
New Member

Registered: September, 2012
Location: NYC
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: September 21, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing IQ and handling
Cons: Lack of modern WR
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5   

This lens is truly great, just like everyone said. I spontaneously pulled the trigger when I saw this lens on ebay for $1400, and have no regrets. I love IQ from this lens and the size has not been an issue so far. Unfortunately this does not have WR (like the DA* lenses), which makes me nervous about bringing with me when I go skiing. However, that is a small price to pay for amazing pics and owning a piece of Pentax history.
New Member

Registered: September, 2012
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: September 4, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast AF, sharp, excellent bokeh, color, internal focusing
Cons: overall poor design, hood, serviceability of this old model
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5   

Amazing transparency and speed of AF. Everybody loves the output of this lens. The weight is not a problem when we think of the incredible quality of image. Compring other zoom lenses, we can't complain about the weight. This is even lighter than 70-200 of Nikon/Canon and cheaper while the image quality is same or above.

Recommed to use other hood to this model as hood design is very poor. I don't use power zoom because its not faster than I need. Anyway this is the best lens I've ever seen in Pentax world.

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Hong Kong / Irvine, CA
Posts: 591
Lens Review Date: July 21, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, sharp, sharp, amazing bokeh
Cons: very good work out :D, stupid hood
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

Legendary lens.
very sharp lens and i would sell my wife to buy the lens. lol
The bokeh is amazing, nothing like the FA50/1.4 can give me.
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2008
Location: WA
Posts: 65
Lens Review Date: December 15, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Cons: Noise of power zoom during video recording

New Member

Registered: May, 2010
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: November 28, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,550.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything but Price
Cons: Price

If I were reduced to one lens, this would be my baby. This is an absolutely amazing lens. The colors are fantastic and the sharpness is banging! The only negative aspect of the lens is the weight. Please keep in mind however, that a lens in this focal length with f/2.8 comes with weight. It's simply part of what must be expected.

Sharpness: 10
Color rendtion: 10
Build quality: 10
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 1,846
Lens Review Date: August 15, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,050.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great focal range @ 2.8 on APS-C, nice bokeh, sharp
Cons: Heavy. Did I say heavy? After shooting with DA* glass, you just wont believe how heavy.

This glass really is an engineering marvel. From the results, you may think you're shooting with a prime.

Sharpness edge to edge is amazing. Out of focus blur is nice. The AF speed is super zippy. Color rendition is stunning.

At 2.8 you hay have some PF/GF, but what glass doesn't.

The only downside to this lens is that when you pick it up after holding any of the DA* glass, you'll be daunted by it's weight. I guess if you want 2.8 glass @ 200mm, you best be willing to suffer a little for your art.

My copy has a broken power zoom, but I cant think of a reason I would need it with this lens. It's just going to eat power you'll want for pictures.

All in all? Buy a copy if you can find one and afford it.
Inactive Account

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Stavanger, Norway
Posts: 150
Lens Review Date: June 8, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent quality, awesome bokeh,
Cons: Heavy

This is an absolutely amazing lens. Going from my earlier lens, the 16-50/2.8, this was another world. The colors are amazing and the sharpness is off the hook! The only negative aspect of the lens is the weight. But really, Nikon and Canon users usually tell me they envy the compact and light-weight design compared to their own equivalents. A lens in this focal length with f/2.8 just has to be this big and heavy to get quality like this. It's also much less pricey than canon and nikon.

Sharpness: 10
Bokeh: 10
Colur rendtion: 10
Build quality: 10
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 115
Lens Review Date: January 12, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Rendering, Color, Bokeh, Range
Cons: Weight

GREAT lens.

I love the color and rendering of F*/FA* 300, and this lens has an almost identical rendering characteristics. It's sharp through out it's range even wide open (you may have to adjust the focus on your K20 using the micro-AF adjustment). The constant F/2.8 makes it a great portrait lens as well.

I also like the 80-200mm range which makes a perfect companion to the *300.

It's fairly compact compared to the other brands' 70-200/2.8 lenses.

For my use, the only negative is the weight. I almost never use a tripod during the day (can you say SR), but the weight of this lens requires some sort of support if you plan to take it out for a long shoot.

Well, I sold this lens due to the weight. But, I kept going back to the images I had made with it and decided to get another one. And, I was lucky enough to find another good sample. Life is good again
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Southern California, USA
Posts: 730
Lens Review Date: September 24, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, sharp & sharp. Great rendering, nice bokeh.
Cons: Big & heavy

Amazing lens.
It produces sharp images throughout focal lengths.
I agree that it is sharpest at 200mm but best for portrait at 80mm.
Tack sharp even at widest aperture 2.8
Rendering is amazing
Bokeh is very smooth and creamy, great for hand held portrait too if only it's not that heavy.

Build quality is like a tank. Smooth zooming and focusing.
There is no focus limiter that somewhat takes longer to focus from short to infinity.
The tripod collar can slide 90 degree to the left or right easily and lock in place, makes it easier to handle for landscape / portrait orientation.

The cons I have with this lens is the weight. But after comparing the size and weight with the new Sigma or Tamron 70-200, I'm not complaining anymore. :ugh:

Another cons is that sometimes the lens has a little bit back focus @shorter focal length and front focus @ longer focal length. This only happens when I shoot @2.8. Stopped down it is always spot on.

I don't have any new Sigma/Tamron 70-200 to compare with, so can't say anything about the picture quality. But I'm definitely love this lens.

The golden silver color along with the size amaze everybody looking at it.
Every time I attach it to my camera, everybody turns their head and admires this lens build quality and size.
And after they see the image it produces, everybody agrees that this is one of the best zoom lens ever made.
The funny thing is nobody says anything when I attach my FA43 Ltd but when I have this one attached, almost everybody says that I'm carrying a serious professional camera
Moderator Emeritus

Registered: May, 2007
Location: Edmonton Alberta, Canada
Posts: 10,644
Lens Review Date: April 18, 2008 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fast, sharp, good bokeh
Cons: Heavy, Overpriced against today's Sigma

I have to agree with Roentarre on this lens. Yes it's got all that the other reviews indicate. Very fast and excellent IQ with good bokeh. But compared to my Sigma 70-200 f2.8, this lens is overpriced and the Sigma can outperform the FA*.

it's heavy and as a result will not be as much fun to use on longer shoots. It's very sharp but the Sigma is sharper even at wide open (both are not the greatest here). Focus hunts a little more as well.

The tripod collar mount is small and as a result it may be hard to attach to some heads with a grip on the body.

Great lens but there is at least one better alternative and the Tamron may make a second good choice.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF]

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